After going to San Diego Comic Con last summer and not being able to get tickets for this year, going to the 2013 Denver Comic Con seemed like the second best choice. Albeit, we were disappointed with my choice at first, well because, it’s San Diego. But after attending Denver’s 2nd con, our first time going, we were pleasantly entertained the whole weekend. Friday night was good for 2 things: seeing the line and getting an idea of the layout of the exhibition hall. The line was ridiculous, a gripe to be heard around Denver for days to come. By the time we arrived at about 5 p.m. people were told that if they did not pre-pay for a ticket, they would need to leave the line because tickets had sold out. But as we found out later, this was not the case. Several people in the Hush family were still able to get tickets for the weekend. That night we checked out the main hall. The goodies were pretty good. The Artist Alley had some pretty good pickings. Our friend Zak Kinsella was in attendance with his comic series Midspace. Jenny Parks was there with her illustrations of cats as superheroes. We picked up these four:
Blake Henriksen had a booth, too. We had picked up some of his art at Denver’s Starfest. His Ninja Turtles were such good art, we couldn’t pass them up. There was also a booth for Sparkle Jewelry designs where we bought this awesome Breaking Bad necklace charm.
Spending all your money on the first day can be a curse or a blessing, but for us, it worked out well, because we weren’t tempted to blow money we didn’t have the rest of the weekend. The highlight of the evening for Adrian was meeting J. August Richards, notably from Angel and soon to be notably in Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Obviously, I’m a huge Whedon fan. Growing up watching Buffy and then Angel, I (Adrian) looked up to Charles Gunn a lot. He was the best character on Angel consistently. Meeting him was a real pleasure. He is very down to earth and really cares about his fans and their reaction to him. It was really refreshing. A lot of people in the entertainment industry can be nice and laid back, but with J., it really felt as though he could be your best buddy. We like best buddies.
Saturday was really the day to be there. Yes, the line to get in even if you had a badge was ridiculous. I hope that with all the backlash, next year will be a smoother process. However, being that it is only the second year of its existence, and that it is now half the size of the international con, I imagine that there weren’t enough volunteers to keep up with the masses. Our day started off great. Sherif, Taylor, Evan, and Adrian all dressed as meth cooks from Breaking Bad. Sherif, Taylor and Evan were Walt White and Adrian was Jesse Pinkman. We all dressed in yellow chemical suits. The guys had different aspects of Walt, but all wore his glasses and facial hair. Adrian wore yellow shoes and a yellow striped beanie to match the suit. It was a lot of fun getting stopped all the time to take pictures. We even gave out samples of our “blue stuff” (which was really just rock candy) to people who wanted our picture. But there is a down side to this costume. Have you ever worn a chemical suit? It’s hot. Have you ever worn a chemical suit in a room with 40,000 other people? Oh dear God. Never been so sweaty and stinky. But when you dress up as meth cooks, bad hygiene seems to be part of the costume.
Sherif and Adrian went to J. August Richards’ panel on his new project called The Hypnotist. It was a short featuring Lisa Gay Hamilton and Sharif Atkins. The story is simple: a man goes to a hypnotist to cure his smoking addiction. But the ideas behind the story are brilliantly complex. The cast is black, and of course J. is black. What is great about this all-black cast is that it doesn’t matter the race of the characters, the story is relatable to everyone, which is exactly what J. wanted. Of course because Richards is brilliant, the writing is impeccable. The characters are both easy to relate to. The theme of African-American history is apparent in the story, but more importantly, it is direct symbolism. I love when little details mean so much to a story. It shows a high intelligence of literary tools. There should be more coming soon with different characters being hypnotized. J. did say that he doesn’t want to put it online. In today’s society, it really does need to be online for people to want to watch it. He said he doesn’t want people to be flipping between tabs while his story is on in the background. I, for one, would not do that because the story is really compelling. I think it would be great if he could sell it to Netflix to avoid that, but with each story being so short, I don’t know if that is a possibility. Congratulations to J. and his new project. I hope the public gets to see the rest of his brilliance.
Evan and Taylor also got to experience the Star Wars trivia event, hosted by Geeks who Drink. This event was the most exciting and disheartening experience Taylor had all weekend long – allow me to explain. I’ve only ever participated in one other general public Star Wars trivia event in my life. During that faithful day I choked on a relatively easy question and knocked myself out of the running for first place (I had to settle for third… shameful, I know). This day at DCC would serve as redemption and was guaranteed to put me in a room with dozens of other fanatics just like me. While the competition was indeed exciting and my brain-farts were gratifyingly limited I was overall disappointed in my fellow enthusiasts. Plain and simple – they were jerks. Now, I’m not speaking for everyone – my experience is limited to the extents of my sight and hearing of my immediate surroundings – but since when did SW fanboys become the elite of the nerd world? Before the competition I enjoyed the prospect of happy and accepting fans congregating and sharing a common passion. By the time we left I was practically holding my brother back from “unleashing The Force” all over an exceptionally snobby guy that had been sitting next to us the whole time. Overall the experience was enjoyable, but I hate that it was cheapened by those who weren’t there just to have fun. That being said – one of our Hush goals is to foster a nerd-universe where all are welcomed, accepted and wanted regardless of depth of knowledge or interest. If you’re a fan/enthusiast – don’t disservice the passion you have by putting down others who aren’t at your level. Share the love and knowledge and I guarantee everybody wins.
During the day, Sherif and Adrian met with J. August Richards again, Clare Kramer from Buffy, and the awesome, “it’s ok” to be George Takei. All are wonderful people. And all were willing to sign our official Hush Comics poster. It was lovely! George is a fun guy who loves to talk. He also has really good penmanship.
To spare you reading a novel of my (Taylor’s) adventures over the day and a half of my time spent at the convention, I’ll share just a few highlights. First being the time my little bro and I spent just walking around. This was neat for the obvious reasons (people watching, ogling artwork and crafts, stalking famous people), but was enhanced by what my brother and I were wearing. What I mean to say is that we were in costume as well. Anybody watch Breaking Bad? If you do then picture Walter White in his yellow haz-mat suit (respirator and all) carrying around little sample baggies of that crystal blue meth. Got the image? That was me and Evan at DCC (our meth was actually candy though – just for the record). What made this uncomfortable experience so worth it (hazardous material suits don’t breathe people… not one bit) was really feeling like you were a part of it all. I mean really, really feeling a part. I know I would have loved it had I gone in normal people clothes, but there’s something extra special about a Storm Trooper coming up and asking to get a picture with you.
Saturday was a good day for all of us. Being in a land of nerdom was like being at home. There were so many people who shared our interests. It was really inspiring. We plan on holding a booth there next year!
On Sunday, Sherif and Adrian went to the Whedon panel, which featured J. August Richards and Clare Kramer. J. of course played Charles Gunn on Angel and Clare Kramer played Glory on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was a little like a town hall meeting. They talked about their time working with Joss and their stories of being hired. It was very informative to listen how the business works for actors. Clare had an easier time than J. did with being hired. Both actors recalled big learning experiences with Joss and the other actors on both series. J. told the audience that his favorite actor to work with was Andy Hallett, who played Lorne on Angel and has since passed away. Clare talked about being given the “reward” of being able to do her own stunt in her last scene in season 5 where she is thrown through the brick wall. She also talked about doing fight scenes with Sarah Michelle Gellar and their stunt doubles. It was interesting to hear how those scenes are filmed, because as Clare said, one time, she hit Sarah’s stunt so hard that she got a black eye and a huge bump on her head for 3 weeks. They also talked briefly about their new endeavors. Clare works on her website geeknation.com while J. is working on The Hypnotist and the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. J. was mum about what his role would be in the series, but from previews it looks like he will be a mutant. Overall, it was a great panel. There were many tid-bits fans wouldn’t get from any other source.
The rest of our day was just walking around and observing the costumes. Our costumes were ditched the day before. We couldn’t handle two days of being Walt and Jesse. Their life is beyond our realm… The weekend was a success. We had fun, saw some things we hadn’t seen before, met new people and enjoyed being ourselves. We can’t wait until next year!
written by Adrian Puryear, Sherif Elkhatib and Taylor Lowe